The Emergence of the Interpreter in the Preparation and Performance of Unity Capsule for Solo Flute by Brian Ferneyhough

Richard Craig

conference: DARE 2015: the dark precursor
date: November 11, 2015
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: in words
practice: music and sound
keywords: Brian Ferneyhough, emergence, flute, Gilles Deleuze from A to Z, notation

abstract video about the author(s)


My paper will attend to the emergence of the interpreter and the repositioning of the contemporary music score from a Deleuzian viewpoint. The manuscript of Unity Capsule is a highly detailed and labyrinthine one that embodies both resistance and provocation for the performer. In my paper I will explain the processes I embarked upon to learn Unity Capsule and adopt the Deleuzian interpretations of résistance and création to articulate the aesthetic and technical demands the piece places upon the player. As part of this process, I will also chart how the performer emerges from the score to challenge hierarchical preconceptions pertaining to the performer–composer relationship.

The perspective I will adopt in this paper is an autoethnographic one that will interleave film excerpts of Deleuze as himself, taken from his final project, the Abécédaire, directed by Pierre-André Boutang. Alongside, there will be a complete performance with technical demonstrations of the iconic and “impossible” Unity Capsule by Ferneyhough. This will include projections of my annotated score as well as explanations of my schematics and the conceptual trajectories that led me to my interpretation. My purpose is to open an interrogation into the score-object, the existence of the performer in this new territory, and the implications of such an immersive experience on collaborative practices in the future.


about the author(s)

Richard Craig

Richard Craig is a flautist specialising in contemporary music. His performances with groups such as ELISION, Musikfabrik, Klangforum Wien, and Das Experimentalstudio ensemble, have taken him to international festivals such as Maerzmusik Berlin, Wittener Tage für Neue Musik, and the Venice Biennale. He has given recitals throughout the world performing new work and presenting his collaborations. At the centre of Richard’s work is the collaboration and development of new repertoire for the flute, and he is involved in commissioning as well as composing his own repertoire. He is currently Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield and a PhD candidate at Middlesex University, supervised by Jonathan Impett.

info & contact


Middlesex University, London, UK


kungflute [AT]